Fresh from annexing their eighth Westmeath senior football title, Garrycastle return to competitive mode on Sunday afternoon in TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar, as matters provincial take precedence.
Longford champions Killoe Emmet Óg provide the opposition (throw-in, 1.30pm ) and make the short trip across the county border with a place in the quarter final of the Leinster club senior football championship at stake.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Garrycastle club captain, Doron Harte, is anticipating a close encounter with the Longford champions, who number former professional Australian Rules footballer, Michael Quinn, amongst their playing squad.
“The post county final celebrations were certainly enjoyed but we returned to training on the Wednesday night with this game now our sole focus. This is an opportunity for us to embrace the provincial championship and with the experience of some key players who featured in our Leinster club winning campaign in 2011, I am hopeful that we can make a mark this year,” Doron remarked.
Coincidentally, both teams met in an opening round provincial fixture in 2011, with Garrycastle victorious by the minimum on that particular occasion, a win which was the start of a memorable knockout campaign culminating in an All-Ireland final appearance against Crossmaglen Rangers on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012.
“I recall that game vividly with Killoe having a goal disallowed late on - a score which would have resulted in our exit from the championship, so they maybe seeking some revenge for that loss on Sunday,” Doron commented.
The post county final two week turnaround has refocused the management and playing squad’s minds with training being of a high tempo and sporting spirits to the fore.
“The players are firmly focused on the forthcoming game and a home fixture is always welcome. As a team we seem to acquit ourselves positively in Cusack Park. Hopefully, we can do so similarly on Sunday afternoon,” Doron reflected.
Should Garrycastle advance on Sunday, they will play the Meath senior football champions (Summerhill or Ratoath ) in a last eight fixture, a contest which will also take place in Mullingar.